CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Kihei Clark scored a career-high 25 points, including 18 points in the first half, but ultimately No. 7 Duke (24-4, 14-3 ACC) knocked down clutch shots down the stretch as the Blue Devils outlasted Virginia (17-11, 11-7 ACC) 65-61 Wednesday night (Feb. 23) at John Paul Jones Arena.
Clark finished Wednesday’s contest 9-for-15 from the field, including 6-for-11 from deep. In addition to Clark, Jayden Gardner (16 points) and Reece Beekman (11 points) scored in double figures for the Cavaliers.
The Blue Devils led for 25:34 of game time, while Virginia led for 8:43. Duke shot 48 percent (24-50 FG) and the Cavaliers shot 44 percent (24-55 FG). The Blue Devils held an advantage in the paint, out-scoring UVA 28-20, and received 19 points from their bench.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Duke led 30-25 at the half, but not after Clark put on a shooting clinic in the first 20 minutes of play. His 18 points on six made 3-pointers led all scorers at the break. He finished the first half 6-of-9 from downtown. It was a defensive battle early on as Duke started 1-for-7 from the field, while UVA was 1-of-5 shooting to start the game. Trailing 13-9, the Blue Devils embarked on an 8-0 run while UVA suffered a scoring drought that lasted a little over 6:00 of game time. Clark reignited the Cavaliers’ scoring with three straight makes from deep to give the UVA the lead (22-17) once again. After Clark’s final made 3 of the half, which came with 4:32 to play, Virginia struggled to score as Duke claimed 12 of the last 15 points of the half.
After the Cavaliers made the first two field goals of the second half to cut its deficit to one (30-29), Duke ultimately grasped their largest lead of the game, 52-44, on a made 3-pointer with 6:48 to play. Virginia responded with a 7-0 run to stay in the game, but then Duke made back-to-back 3-pointers and a layup to lead 60-55 with 2:05 to play. Virginia would cut the Blue Devils’ lead to as little as three points three more times, but ultimately the Cavaliers ran out of time down the stretch.
Virginia rounds out its home slate as it hosts Florida State (14-13, 7-10 ACC) for Senior Day on Saturday (Feb. 26). Tipoff from John Paul Jones Arena is set for 4 p.m. on either ESPN or ESPN2.